The Impact of the Pre-patch Mythic+ Affix Nerfs

The Shadowlands pre-expansion patch arrives tomorrow and one of the biggest changes coming to Mythic+, aside from the class tuning, are the nerfs to 5 affixes in preparation for Shadowlands: Bursting, Explosive, Grievous, Sanguine and Volcanic. Most of the changes to these affixes will make them easier to handle. The changes also have some interesting and weird potential, as we might be seeing an influx of players flying around dungeons propelled by volcanoes?

Today we'll be taking an in-depth look at the changes as our resident Mythic+ expert dives into a jumbo-sized edition of “Dratnos Explains”:

Dratnos Explains the Affix Changes


  • Bursting is now a dispellable Magic debuff.
  • Bursting deals a flat amount of damage instead of a percentage based off of max HP.

Bursting has received a substantial nerf, but the impact will be different depending on your group composition and the level of keys that you play at. The introduction of scaling with key level instead of percent-health based damage will help out healers in lower level keys, which was often the affix's toughest environment. The debuff is now a magic effect, which makes it dispellable - all healers have a dispel, so every group will get at least one extra tool against Bursting, but groups with Priests for Mass Dispel and/or Dwarves for Stoneform (or Dark Iron Dwarves for Fireblood) get even more answers.


  • Non-periodic heals now removes 1 stack of Grievous.
  • Grievous now deals a flat amount of damage instead of a percentage based off of max HP.

Grievous' changes should make that awful feeling of being unable to save someone from the DoT despite many globals of healing a thing of the past. This affix is also getting the flat scaling treatment, which should help healers out in lower level keys. During pre-patch, with our high levels of gear, this affix should feel dramatically easier at almost any level, though early in Shadowlands expect the damage to feel much nastier until we reach high levels of gear again.


  • Explosive Orbs now spawn 4 to 8 yards from the unit that summoned them (was 3 yards).
  • Explosive Orb health has been reduced and no longer scales with keystone level.
  • Explosive Orbs now have a sound effect when defeated.

Explosive is going to be far less impossible to deal with for specs without big on-demand damage globals, though some specs will still have an easier time than others. Depending on the exact health numbers, high-speed, medium-damage abilities such as Fire Blast may become the new best answer to these orbs rather than the higher-damage requirements of the past. Orbs spawning closer to their spawners and playing a sound effect when they die are both welcome quality of life changes too.


  • Players are now knocked in the air when hit by Volcanic.
  • Volcanic now deals damage equal to 15% of the player’s health (was 40%).

Volcanic now does a LOT less up-front damage, though there will be some fall damage associated with getting hit. The big effect of the knockup will be the end of the days of standing still and intentionally getting hit while telling your healer to heal you so that you can keep casting. Be on the lookout for some degenerate new skip strategies developing around the idea of intentionally getting hit by Volcanoes to serve as a launch pad.


  • Sanguine's duration reduced to 20 seconds (was 60 seconds).

Sanguine's nerf doesn't change how you should play against it, but it will reduce the penalty of finding yourself in one of the affix's worst-case scenarios. For example, dropping Sanguine under an enemy that doesn't move, like Raal the Gluttonous, now only results in full-healing the boss and then being unable to effectively damage it for 20 seconds, rather than the full-heal plus 60 seconds penalty of the past. This is still a very bad outcome, but it's a tiny bit more forgiving, and corridors or hallways full of Sanguine will also now clear up much faster.

The pre-patch environment being significantly different from Battle for Azeroth (from Corruptions being gone, the class changes, the level squish, and more) means Mythic+ will be in an interesting and completely new place. Though the Season 4 Awakened affix is sticking around a while longer, the format and meta will shift with these many changes, from new specs getting preferential treatment to maybe even some brand new strategies forming. However, the biggest question remains: how long will the pre-patch period actually last? We still don't know when Shadowlands is launching, so we may be in for a pretty long Mythic+ post-season!

All of this is pretty exciting, as we get another fresh start before the eventual Shadowlands arrival when the new dungeons, affixes, and many more changes kick in too.

About the Author

Starym is an old-school raider with a wide history of World Firsts under his belt. He is a long-time news writer and interviewer for Icy Veins and formerly Manaflask. Having raided in the Race to World First (RWF) until the end of The Burning Crusade, he has been covering the events since Cataclysm and the RWF has become his greatest passion in WoW. A (Tauren, obviously) Warrior main at heart, when pushed, he will admit to loving Diablo more than WoW and, thus, should be punished.